Look Around Mississippi: Christmas Light Tradition - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

McComb 12/11/07

Look Around Mississippi: Christmas Light Tradition

By Walt Grayson

We're off to McComb, to the Maxwell home to take a look at their lighting tradition.

Harry Maxwell has been stringing up lights at his house in McComb for at least 17 years. His wife, Rosie, says it's longer. And the fame of the decorations has spread. Someone in Jackson told me about them.

Harry says he only has about 40,000 lights out this year. Usually he has closer to 60,000. But then again, he just got out of the hospital. And I don't think his doctors wanted him putting up the lights at all this year. But, it's a tradition.

The Maxwells say it all about, "just enjoying it. For the kids. Most of the grown-ups, too, because they enjoy it more than the kids, some of them."

Now, I am well aware that there are many of us who'd like to light up our yards in some way. Or even get the tree decorated, that wonder how in the world anyone has time to put up this many lights. Well, here's one more for you. In addition to doing all of this in the first place, Harry only has one hand.

Doesn't having only one hand hamper him somewhat? Harry Maxwell says, "Nope. I've been doing it quite a while with one hand."

And on top of that, Harry Maxwell adds something new to the display every year.  "Yes, sir," says Harry, "Every year. Never put it up the same way."

It's the spirit of giving that makes them do this. Giving away a little free cheer to passers-by.

Rosie Maxwell says,  "I just love it for the kids, and for the adults to come through. Mostly we just did it for the kids."

And at Christmas, what little bit of kid there is left in us after having to be a grown-up in modern life comes to the surface. So we're all kids at Christmas.

There may be bigger displays of lights in other yards around the state. But I don't think you'll find one with more heart behind it. Put up every year by a man with only one hand, and this year, just after getting out of the hospital, just so all us kids would have something pretty to look at, like we have traditionally grown to expect at this house in McComb.

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